To Love and to Share

More and more restaurants are adopting a tapas style menu filled with small bite sized portions to share and graze over. The appeal is obvious, as guests can sample many different dishes and sample at their leisure. Tapas style meals originally began in Spain over 200 years ago, but the popularity of tapas has spread across the world.

Tapas style menus started as a tactic bartenders used in taverns in¬†Andalusian to encourage patrons to drink more. The original tapas items were bread slices or slices of meat that people used to cover their drinks in between sips to keep fruit flies away. This all makes sens, as ‘tapas’ translates as ‘cover’ or ‘lid’ in Spanish. Salty meats like chorizo or ham were introduced because the savory flavours elicited thirst. Eventually as time went on the tapas served at the bar became just as important than the actual drinks.

Traditional tapas style menus can carry many different items, like various meats and cheeses, olives, pickled onions and sun dried tomatoes. It’s really no wonder the world has embraced this casual dining style, as it can be seen in the Mediterranean, Japan, France, Israel, Egypt, and now tapas is appearing on Western menus, with each country adopting the menu to regional tastes and flavours.

The appeal to tapas grazing is it’s ability to allow people to connect. People are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them, they can share their stories, laugh and engage with one another while quietly grazing a sharing plate. What makes tapas such a great option for dinner parties is that tapas are often served at room temperature, to be consumed at leisure, therefore there’s little need for heavy cooking by the host or hostess. Tapas is a great way to enjoy flavorful, healthy food while catching up with friends and family.

Photo Courtesy of Suite Life

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